TikTok vs Instagram Reels: Marketing your Indie Game
Updated: Jul 21, 2022
TikTok and Instagram reels are dominating short video content on the internet but which platform is the best to market your indie game?
With social media rapidly evolving, it’s hard to identify the best platform for content creators to use. Today we are going to break using Instagram reels and TikTok to market your indie game. Although each online management system has their pros and cons, it is recommended that content creators use both platforms to maximise effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
Differences between TikTok and Instagram Reels
These are the main details of each respective platform.
Monthly Active Users
2 Billion Monthly
1.2 Billion Monthly
Internet Search Ranking
Maximum Video Length
Visible in App
Visible in App
Public and Private
Public (Everyone), Public (friends only) and Private
Like, comment, share
Like, comment, share and favourite.
Video Captions: Maximum Character Length
The key takeaways from this is that TikTok has the most creative freedom based on video length and Instagram has the best target audience for game developers. It is also worth noting, TikTok is growing rapidly in comparison to Instagram.
Let's look at each individual short video platform.
With Tiktok quickly rising as one of the biggest social media
platforms worldwide, it is a great marketing platform for your indie game.
TikTok is the first social media to provide content curated specifically to each user. The TikTok algorithm is a recommendation system that determines which videos will appear on your For You page. Every user
has a unique For You page and the videos you see may change over time based on your viewing preferences.
The For You page recommends content based on several factors, including:
Which accounts you follow
Creators you’ve hidden
Comments you’ve posted
Videos you’ve liked or shared on the app
Videos you’ve added to your favorites
Videos you’ve marked as “Not Interested”
Videos you’ve reported as inappropriate
Longer videos you watch all the way to the end (aka video completion rate)
Content you create on your own account
Interests you’ve expressed by interacting with organic content and ads
Now let’s look at Instagram.
Instagram is transparent about how it ranks the content people see when browsing through Reels. Instagram reels have been the most used part of the app in the last year. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has gone on record saying he "wants to go big on video in an effort to compete directly with TikTok". Similarly to TikTok, Instagram's goal is to provide content users will enjoy and actively engage with.
In order to determine which Reels to show users, Instagram’s algorithm considers how likely an individual is to:
Watch a Reel and finish it
Engage with the post
Go to the audio page to make their own reel
Once Instagram identifies what the user likes based on their retention and engagements with posts, the platform will start to curate reels similar to a for you page on TikTok.
Surprisingly, both platforms have a lot of similarities with regards to the algorithm. Here are some tips when you upload indie game content on both platforms.
1. Stick to your niche!
Sticking to your niche will allow your content to be viewed by the right audience. Titktok and Instagram judge quality content based on retention and engagement. If your videos are using the wrong keywords it may go to the wrong audience, which may lower its retention. The algorithm may take this as bad quality content and not share it. Keep your content game specific. Specific niches include - indie game, devlog, co-op indie games and more.
2. Post content frequently.
Tiktok and Instagram love consistent uploading. The algorithm is more likely to share your content. Instagram favours users that post reels in the algorithm so we definitely recommend all game developers upload onto the platform. It is recommended you upload once a day. You can also reuse content on both platforms, however it is suggested you upload it on reels without the TikTok watermark.
Hashtags are used to boost a video's discovery. They help Instagram’s algorithms to categorise your content so it can appear in the explore feeds of people who might be interested in your account. It is recommended that users on TikTok use up to 4 hashtags. Instagram's creator account suggests using 3-5 hashtags on reels. This is because overusing hashtags may be considered spam and both platforms are less likely to share your content.
Using generic hashtags, such as #FYP and #viral have also shown little to no impact on your videos view count. Try using more niche specific hashtags. Using #indiedev #indiegames are great hashtags that have a clear and niche market.
4. Use trending sounds
Using trending sounds increases your chance of getting your video recommended to users. When users go on their for you page, most of the content uses viral sounds. I would suggest attaching viral sounds to your video to increase your view count, if the song doesn’t match you can also mute it and the sound will still count!
And that’s all for this blog. Overall Instagram and TikTok are dominating the short video content on social media. It is important for game developers to focus on both platforms and maybe prioritise TikTok for younger demographics and Instagram for older. Good luck game developers!
For more indie game marketing tips follow Voyager Studio’s blog.
Hootsuite. (2022). TikTok Algorithm. https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-algorithm/ McCormick, K. (May 2022). The Complete Guide to Instagram Hashtags (With 120+ Hashtag Ideas). https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2019/05/29/instagram-hashtags
Moseseri, A. (July 2021). Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CQwNfFBJr5A/
Navigate Video. (2022). Instagram reels vs TikTok vs YouTube shorts Which is Better? https://www.navigatevideo.com/news/instagram-reels-vs-tiktok-vs-youtube-shorts-which-is-better
Search Engine Journal. (2021). How to Use Instagram Reels. https://www.searchenginejournal.com/instagram-reels/430673/
Thomas, M. (November 2021). How many Hashtags on Instagram.